Alberobello is famous for it’s trulli. Alberobello has over 1500 of these unusual whitewashed limestone dwellings, which stand out dramatically against the deep blue sky and create a beautiful, exotic village. The strange looking houses with conical roofs, called a trullo (trulli in the plural), are white washed every year and gleam in the sun against a bright blue sky. Many are painted with both Christian and pagan symbols.
Alberobello is situated on two hills, one the home to the modern town and the other is where the trulli are found. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1966 on the basis of cultural criteria the site was considered to be of universal value :
“being an exceptional example of a form of building construction deriving from prehistoric construction techniques that have survived intact and functioning into the modern world.
There are many theories about the construction of the trulli, the most well known of which has it that the trulli were first constructed during the Middle Ages as a method of tax evasion. During this time the building of dwellings on the King’s land was heavily taxed. The trulli were originally constructed from lime stone blocks using dry stone walling, without mortar. When word came that the taxman was on his way the trulli were dismantled leaving no sign of the dwelling. Once all was clear the dwellings were re-instated!
Another theory is that because only permanent houses were taxed, the white stone on top of the roof could be easily removed as to show to the taxman that the house was not a permanent structure.
Nowadays the trulli constructions do make use of mortar.
Very busy from Easter to October but it really is worth a visit. Wander round the narrow lanes, you will find small tourist orientated shops and some restaurants. Visit the Museo del Territorio, where the towns farming history is explained. Don’t miss Trullo Sovrano, located in the new part of Alberobello. It’s rooms are all laid out to show you how life in a trullo really was.